Hope and uncertainty: A needs assessment of Ukrainian youth refugees in Romania and Moldova

Published 04. May 2023|Updated 03. May 2023
Youth are a significant proportion of refugees fleeing from Ukraine, particularly female youth. In Romania and Moldova, more than half of the refugees there are between the ages of 18 and 59.

This assessment was done in conversation with Ukrainian refugee youth across Moldova and Romania, through our partners the National Youth Foundation - Romania and National Youth Council - Moldova. The NRC Youth Wellbeing Framework, a method of capturing the multi-dimensional and complex nature of youth wellbeing-safety in displacement, formed the basis of the assessment.

The findings we discovered together show great needs amid strong hope for a secure future. Language was found to be an overarching need that affects every aspect of youth’s lives. Economic support, through secure jobs and stable integration, are the most cited need. Ukrainian youth appreciated the safety of their host communities but still live with anxiety over their futures. Feelings of isolation and distance from family and friends displaced by the conflict contribute to the mental strain youth feel. Youth also have practical suggestions for how to serve their needs, calling for language support and community centers where they can connect meaningfully with their peers and communities.

All humanitarian organizations can benefit from the insights identified in this assessment to ensure that our programming reflects not just needs but also the aspirations and hopes of refugee youth. Their priorities must inform our response.